Do hot leads call when you promote your services? No? Well, there are a limited number of ways to advertise correctly but nearly infinite ways to mess up. Is it possible to stop buying expensive leads and get your phone ringing with your own exclusive prospects? Yes, if you learn and apply the fundamentals of marketing. The three cannot-be-left-out basics of an effective ad are:
- An offer
- A deadline
- A headline
Let’s address headlines.
I consider a bad headline — or none at all — “the first fatal flaw” of lead generation advertising. Why? Without a good headline, chances are slim-to-none that anyone will notice any other mistake in your ad because it won’t be read. Your headline is the most important element in your ad. Yes, I do mean that. A headline is that crucial. You can do a so-so job of the other elements and still possibly get a few responses. Not so if you mess up the headline.
Try this: grab a magazine or newspaper – any variety that is handy right now — and look through it. Do it now, really. Did you start with the cover and read every single word, page by page? No. Your instinct was to look for what applied to you, what was interesting, what promised a benefit you wanted. You accomplish that task by scanning headlines.
People are way, way too busy to read the entirety of everything they come across. In a person’s personal and professional life they are deluged with information including ads on the radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, in their inbox and mailbox. There is absolutely no way to read every sentence of each piece. Impossible. Crazy.
What Your Peers Are Reading
So, how do they sort through the mass of stuff vying for their attention? Reading headlines — just like you did, if you performed the experiment above. They check out headlines to determine IF something is worth the time to read more.
A book’s title is a headline for its content. A (nonfiction) table of contents is simply a list of headlines for chapters.
Why are your advertising results dismal?
You can have a great message sent to a carefully targeted niche audience and still get zero response. You may be the best advisor in town with a plethora of designations after your name and still be struggling to find prospects. Effective lead generation advertising starts with a great headline. What does yours say?
Must every marketing piece have a headline? Yes. Post cards, sales letters, webpages, yellow page and display ads. For emails it is the subject line. For a radio or TV spot, it is the first words spoken. Every promotional piece should have a headline.